“We are not just an educational program, but a community that believes very deeply in the power of music. This is a community of care, and the relationship between students and faculty in the program is a template for the relationship between therapists and clients at a clinical site. We want to create an educational relationship that is a model for how music can be a force for community building,” said Aigen.
To that end, a key part of the Music Therapy program is participation in training groups, therapeutic educational spaces in which students participate in music therapy from the client side. In these, they gain firsthand experience of the benefits and challenges of music therapy for clients, while also accessing a supportive space to work through their own thoughts, fears, and challenges – and bettering their own therapeutic practice.
“If you look at music therapy as a field, you see a lot of boundaries dissolving as people begin to see that there is a real clinical and human benefit to music, and it’s possible to combine art and education and health in a way that’s really vital to the wellbeing of the person,” said Aigen. “In that way, Music Therapy is emblematic of the work that is going on across NYU Steinhardt – here, we can look at something that is very complex and has a lot of creative tensions and see that as a resource rather than a problem. Steinhardt is a nexus and a lab for how really different ideas can work together with synergy.”